TODAY -

Anti-bill Agitation: A Hidden Agenda ?

Seram Neken *

ILP : The remains of Government Office and MLA, Minister's Building at Churachandpur :: 05 September 2015.
ILP : The remains of Government Office at Churachandpur on 05 September 2015 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Safeguarding indigenous population in border state Manipur is in the national interest of maintaining demographic balance of the country by preventing uncontrolled foreign influx. Hence, the Prime Minister of India may advise the Manipur Governor and the Chief Minister to expedite the passage of the bills which seek to protect Indigenous Manipuris (@Indians).

Why has some hill MLAs protested against the three Bills by tendering resignation from Legislative Assembly, even though they had taken part in the Assembly sessions that deliberated and passed the bills which aim at safeguarding the indigenous character of their people ? Their resignation appears to carry another agenda, far from protesting against the three Bills.

Moreover, all legislators particularly belonging to the hill constituencies, who participated in the Assembly session and endorsed the passage of the Bills, must not go by the undue pressure from certain vested interests. They need to come forward to explain to their electorate that the bills do not affect their interests.

People’s representatives should not remain silent when certain sections have resorted to violent agitations by misinterpreting the proviso of the bills. Besides the political moves from the law makers, an intellectual exercise among the elites belonging to various communities of Manipur by reading the contents of the Bills between the lines is the need of the hour. Only when the para-wise clearance is made, the so called indigenous general population will get rid of their misunderstandings and angst.


In the aftermath of passing the much hyped bills (the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms 7th Amendment Bill 2015 and Manipur Shops and Establishments 2nd Amendment Bill 2015) in order to safeguard the indigenous population of the state by the Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 31 last, protests spearheaded by reputed tribal bodies started to galore from Chandel and Churachandpur districts of Manipur.

It is obvious that the two districts have innumerable numbers of foreign migrants from across the long porous international border. The implementation of the recently passed legislation will certainly affect the very settlement of those who had encroached borders after 1951 without valid documents. Objection from the end of illegal foreign migrants is natural in the course of the passage of the bills which tend to affect their stay. However, the unfortunate scenario is that a horde of indigenous tribal bodies have joined the wagon in protesting the statutes which are meant to protect their own existence. Even the Gurkhas (Nepalis) residing in Senapati district have manifested their intentions to defy the protective legislation without pondering over their age-old ties with this land.

Being a border state sharing a long porous international border with neighboring Myanmar, Manipur state in north eastern edge of India has been home to around 40 different communities speaking different dialects/languages and following their own customs and traditions. With the unified and composite existence among its various indigenous inhabitants, Manipur has long been shining in the region with pride and power before its occupation by British India in 1891.

Being a colony of the then British India, Manipur became a war field during the World War-II. The homogenous people of composite Manipur both from hills and valley together played a key role in the Indian independence movement launched by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. During the hectic independence movement against British India, the first tricolor of India was hoisted at historic Moirang, around 40 km south of Imphal.

On 14th August 1947, one day ahead of Indian independence, Manipur became an independent nation, adopted its own constitution and became the first British occupied territory which followed democracy by electing its first legislature. However, Manipur was merged into Indian union in 1949 and became a part C state of India. Only in 1972, Manipur was granted statehood. In its brief history under Indian regime, Manipur has shown glaring achievements in the fields of sports, art and culture. The importance of Manipur state lies in the undeniable fact that it serves as an eastern gateway to the whole South East Asia, facilitating international trade and commerce with foreign nations.

Now the underlying situation is that the so called indigenous population comprising a hordes of ethnic communities are under threat of extinction due to heavy influx of immigrants both from Indian states as well as from across the international border (Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar). Illegal influx of migrants along the porous international border in the Chandel and Churachandpur districts has been rampant and unhindered, thereby causing a demographic imbalance not only to Manipur state but also to the whole Indian nation. Considering the impending reality, the state legislature of Manipur comprising representatives from all communities has recently passed the three bills which seek to protect the indigenous population of Manipur state.

It is highly speculative that the foreign refugees in collusion with certain indigenous tribal bodies have started agitating against the passage of the bills with the objective of protecting their illegal settlement. Steep resistance to the bills is a clear testimony that foreign illegal refugees have occupied the hills of Manipur and claimed their rights to settlement.

More unfortunate thing is that so called indigenous tribal populations under the aegis of reputed hill-based bodies have spearheaded the defiance movement, may either be due to misunderstanding with the contents of the Bills or be in a position to create chaos among various ethnic communities residing in Manipur to serve another hidden agenda. Despite repeated clarifications from the state government regarding the absence of any anti-tribal provision in the bills, the anti-bill agitations do not cease.

There is strong apprehension that certain tribal organizations are trying to reap the advantage of breaking the integrity of Manipur in the course of the defiance agitation. Appeal for tendering resignation to all tribal MLAs seems to be with the intention of dethroning the present dispensation in Manipur, in order to pave way for a long pending hidden agenda among the so called Nagas in Manipur. Legislators belonging to all communities must realize that destabilizing the present state regime is no solution to the chaos in Manipur. As responsible legislators, they have a big say in framing and reframing any law.

Meanwhile, the government of India also needs to ponder over the merits of implementing a protective shield to check foreign influx which has long been posing as a national demographic challenge in India. Heavy illegal immigration occurring along Indo-Myanmar border, and from Bangladesh and Nepal have not only threatened the indigenous population of Manipur, but also poses a demographic challenge to the whole Indian nation.

In order to prevent illegal influx from across the international border, the government of India needs to advise the state government to expedite the passage of the three aforesaid bills in national interest. Otherwise, the impending demographic threat posed by illicit international immigration in the eastern border of India cannot be prevented.

The Prime Minister of India may advise the Governor and the Chief Minister of Manipur to work towards safeguarding the very demographic character of the country by protecting the indigenous population of Manipur state.


* Seram Neken wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at nekenseram(aT)yahoo(doT)co(doT)in
This article was posted on September 11, 2015.


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